Quick note: this is an old / archived review from 2014 showcasing what first class was like on the Delta 757-200 back then (SAN-ATL-SAN). Be sure to check out my latest Delta 757-200 first class review if you want to see what has changed since the time that I originally published this.
What can I say about starting yet another trip on Delta Airlines out of San Diego? This trip to West Palm Beach (via Atlanta) is my third first class Delta trip this year, which is a lot considering that I don’t have any allegiance to them at all. Ever since they (and all the other airlines) completely devalued their frequent flyer programs, I’m not loyal to anyone anymore – I purchase my tickets based on convenience alone.
Normally we start our trips to Florida very early with a flight leaving SAN no later than 7:30am, but this time we chose an 11am departure due to the fact that we needed to board our cat and didn’t want to take her in the night before. She hates being away from home – and she’s usually really grumpy when we return, so the less time she has to think about how much she hates us the better! Lol…
San Diego, CA (SAN) – Atlanta, GA (ATL)
Tuesday December 23 2014
Seat: 4A (First)
We arrived at the airport at about 9:45, and strolled right up to the Sky Priority check in counters without any waiting. I think this is what I like about first class airline travel the most – it’s not the bigger seat, or the fancy(ish) meal…it’s the short (or non existent) lines that cuts so much of the stress.
We dropped our bags off and had our boarding passes in minutes, and from there it was off to yet another short line at the security checkpoint. As a matter of fact, this might have been the quickest I’ve ever went through security at SAN – I don’t have PreCheck, but they sent us through that line anyway and we were through in seconds. Nice!
I can’t say that my first glimpse of our aircraft sitting at gate 48 left me feeling comfortable. Sure, it looked like a completely airworthy craft, but…that registration. N666DN. Yikes! I’m not superstitious or anything, but that one made me do a double-take.
But I quickly let it go, reasurring myself that this aircraft has been flying for 20 years (at least) without incident. As a matter of fact, a quick search on planespotters.net just now reveals that this aircraft first flew in 1991. So, it’s been 23 years to be exact! Anyway, on with the flight…
There was a pretty thick crowd building at the gate door just before boarding was called, and (as usual), we had to fight our way through it when they announced boarding for first class. It was about this time that I was starting to wonder what first class configuration this particular 757 would have – there are many different seat types in the first class cabin on these Delta 757’s, so it’s always a guess as to what we’re going to get.
What we did get was what I call the “square” config. I call it this because of the squared-off arm rests and center console between the seats, but I’m sure there’s a proper name for it. I don’t particularly care what the proper name is (or how it ranks in terms of newness), but all I do know is that it’s my least favorite of them all. Oh well.
Push back was right on time, and since I was seated on the right side of the aircraft, I was able to get a nice view of the Delta A330 and United 747-400 charters that were in town for the college bowl games. Unfortunately, my iPhone did a lousy job of getting nice pics.
The departure off runway 27 was as good as it ever is in San Diego, and we were treated to some pretty nice views of the surrounding area as we turned east and headed for ATL.
As usual with Delta domestic first class service, hot towels were distributed before drink orders were taken. Snacks quickly followed, along with lunch orders.
The lunch options on today’s flight consisted of a salmon salad or hamburger. Although the hamburger did sound tempting, I wasn’t in the mood for a heavy meal and opted for the salad instead. It was quite tasty, though I do admit that the hamburger actually looked better. Oh well – perhaps I’ll get my chance later in the week on our return trip?
The remainder of the flight was completely uneventful, and as much as I tried to sleep, I just couldn’t. I also wasn’t willing to pay the exhorbantant rates for in-flight wifi, so time didn’t pass all that quickly. But I took some time to play with my GoPro camera for a bit – and the weather did get a bit interesting the closer we got to Atlanta, which made for some decent pics as well.
It’s amazing how quickly it got dark once we descended below the thick cloud layer. It was so thick that I honestly don’t even know what runway we landed on – which is saying a lot considering how well I know ATL. It was foggy and dark, and we taxied around the airport for a good 15 minutes before I got my bearings and saw that we were approaching the T gates from the north.
I couldn’t see any terminal buildings during our taxi in, which was really spooky – it was like we landed on plant Mars or something. Did we come in on the north side and taxi around? Or perhaps the south side? I honestly have no idea!
So that was that. A typically good Delta first class trans con experience. But I have to wonder…why doesn’t Delta put a true premium product on this route instead of watered-down domestic first class? With as much lift as they have out of San Diego, I can’t believe they aren’t tempted to try.
And now, here’s a full review of the segment back to San Diego:
I’m including this to show you an alternate version of the 757-200 first class seat that Delta is using. It’s different than the version you saw above.
Our layover at ATL was perfect – we had just enough time to take the plane train down to the new international terminal (F) for a quick and healthy lunch before heading back to concourse B to catch our connecting flight to San Diego. I hate scarfing down a meal under pressure, so it was nice to be able to sit and relax without stressing out about trying to catch a flight.
Atlanta, GA (ATL) – San Diego, CA (SAN)
Saturday December 27 2014
Seat: 5D (First)
Our flight over to San Diego today was operated by a 757-200, which is actually kind of rare for me to choose. Delta has been flying at least one 767 a day to SAN for years now, and I’ve always gone out of my way to catch them. But not this time.
We needed to be back in San Diego in the early afternoon, and the only flight that would get us there at that time was DL1467 – operated by a 757-200, and not the 767-300 I would have preferred. Oh well. I don’t have a strong attachment to the larger airplane or anything, but it’s rare to fly domestic wide bodies these days – especially to San Diego! At least I have the memories of my last 767-300 ATL-SAN segment…
Boarding was delayed a few minutes late due to late arrival of our aircraft, but the gate agents did a remarkable job of getting everyone onboard quickly and efficiently. And once again, I was curious to see what first class configuration this airplane would have. There are just so many variations of these Delta 757-200’s, no doubt a result of the merger with Northwest a few years back.
Anyway, this aircraft featured what I call the “square” config (same as our SAN-ATL segment a few days prior), but with the addition of seat-back video screens featuring Delta Studio. I’m not much of an in-flight entertainment guy, but there is one feature of Delta Studio that I like: the flight information page, complete with the tail number of the aircraft. The #avgeek in me digs that like a ditch, but I imagine that kind of information is useless to 99.9% of the flying public. Still, I’m glad they include it!
Despite the delayed boarding, we actually pushed back from the gate right on time. From there, it was a short taxi out to runway 8R with only two aircraft ahead of us. We were off in no time! It did feel weird leaving ATL for SAN so early in the day though. Normally when we return home from PBI (via ATL), we take that very late afternoon 767-300 flight which gets us into San Diego after dark. I was actually looking forward to arriving home with at least a few hours of daylight left.
Being that this was our 4th first class Delta flight in less than a week, we pretty much knew the drill. Hot towels, followed by drinks and snacks, and then the meal service. Very predictable, right down to the timing. If there is one thing that Delta has down pat, it’s the consistency of the domestic first class product. There were no surprises or issues here.
For lunch today, I decided to go big and try that hamburger that looked so good on our SAN-ATL segment earlier in the week. I’m a pretty healthy eater, so it’s been a long time since I had a burger – and I figured that this was a special occasion, so what the heck, right?
My wife chose the other option, which was a pretty decent looking chicken salad.
Both meals were served with a fruit and cheese plate on the side, which was pretty good. So – how was the burger? Surprisingly good! I’ve had worse burgers on the ground, so I was rather impressed considering that this was airplane food. Hamburger itch…scratched.
The only thing out of the ordinary worth mentioning about this meal service was that the flight attendants served from back to front. I haven’t seen that before on Delta flights, so I’m wondering if this was just the preference of the flight attendants? I’m not really sure.
I tried watching some TV after lunch, but there wasn’t anything in the Delta Studio collection that seemed interesting to me. There are a lot of options though – so it’s a pretty good in flight entertainment system overall. I prefer the moving map anyway, along with a good nap to pass the time.
We made pretty good time heading west, and we ended up a bit ahead of schedule as we approached San Diego. The scenery is always amazing flying into SAN, and this time was no exception:
We hit runway 27 just a few minutes later, and there was another 747-400 charter (Atlas) sitting on the north side of the field that I tried to get a pic of. It was too bumpy though, and they all turned out blurry. Oh well. It was good to be home!
So that’s it for this one. Delta Airlines is consistent for sure, and we had no complaints about any portion of this trip to south Florida and back. Thanks for following along!